About the book

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About the Book

When starting a new project, you don’t want to waste time, money, or effort building a product that won’t meet the expectations or your clients. For this, it is necessary to quickly validate the business hypothesis and to decide the initial product features with the whole team.

In this book, Paulo Caroli shares the recipe for the To The Point technique: a sequence of quick and effective activities to understand and plan the creation of lean products, based on the concept of minimum viable product.

Start your next project with great success!

To The Point is a technique for understanding and planning incremental deliveries of MVPs. The technique organizes ideas and resources in a model that seeks to find out the main purpose of the product, considering the users’ journeys to perform incremental deliveries of viable products. As a cookbook, presented as a step-by-step sequence of quick and effective activities, the technique will enable your team to:

  • Describe the vision of the product
  • Prioritize product goals
  • Describe the main users, their profiles and their needs
  • Figure out key product features
  • Understand levels of uncertainty, effort, and business value by functionality
  • Describe the most important users’ journeys
  • Create an incremental product delivery plan, driven by the MVP concept
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Minimum Viable Product

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the simpler version of a product that can be available to validate a small set of assumptions on the business. Basically, you don’t want to waste time, money and effort building a product that won’t attend your expectations. For that reason, you need to understand and validate the hypothesis about the business. MVP helps to validate and learn the fastest way.

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Lean Inception

In a single week of collaborative work, the team will understand the product objectives, the main users, and the high-level functional scope such that the project duration can be estimated and an incremental release strategy of MVPs can be identified.

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Collaboration

The success of an inception is directly connected to the capacity of the group of collaborating effectively in each activity described in this book. The inception proposes a collaborative process of discovering and elucidating in which people involved work together in a sequence of activities to understand the options and elaborate MVPs. The activities presented in this book represent structured collaboration methods, seeking for a creative environment, while sharing knowledge, learning, and building consensus. The activities aim to build up the team success, as they get involved in elucidating and resolving each step towards the MVP.

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What people say about To The Point?

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... Paulo Caroli´s book aims to answer these questions: What to do? How to evaluate market demand for a product? What does the customer desire? In this matter, Paulo's work is critical to the next generation of product builders as it provides a way to address the challenges of building the right product for your customers and your market.

José Papo
Google Latin America Relationship Manager for StartUps

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I had the opportunity to work with Paulo and verify his methodology effectiveness in a relatively large and complex organization such as Sicredi. There is a great hype about Lean StartUIp and Lean Product creation and, in my view, few professionals are capable of delivering, in fact, the desired results. Paulo is one of them, and generously shares his recipe in the book.

Paulino Ramos Rodrigues
Executive Director of IT and Operations at Sicredi

vitor-massari

ToThePoint: the title could not be more appropriate! Paulo Caroli explains in a simple, direct and didactic approach how to plan good MVPs in a playful and collaborative way. Many people talk about MVP, but very few show how to do it, so this book is a rare and precious jewel not only for the agile community, but for anyone who works with innovative products!

Vitor Massari
Hiflex Consulting CEO

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Paulo Caroli's deep practical experience, coupled with the simple and straightforward method, makes this book an excellent step-by-step on lean inceptions and product creation. Full of practical and effective examples, the result of years of continuous learning, experimentation, and continuous improvement, this book shares a superb recipe for product teams. In my opinion, with this book, Caroli became the Jamie Oliver of the Lean inceptions.

Fabio Pereira
Principal Consultant at ThougthWorls Australia

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Lean StartUp + Design Thinking

The build-measure-learn loop, from Lean StartUp, seems straightforward, but it’s hard to put it into practice due to its combination of scientific approach (build to learn) with an engineering mentality (learn to build). To assist in understanding and building the MVP, you can complement it with another loop: user-journey-action, which brings a Design Thinking approach focused on learning about people and their journeys.

  • Lean StartUp

    From Lean Startup, we have the build-measure-learn loop: What are we going to build on this MVP? How do we measure the results of this MVP? What learning or outcome are we looking for in this MVP?

  • Design Thinking

    User-centered design. That's what we want. To create the MVP, we must consider the users and their journeys. We must work on actions that improve or simplify their lives.

Icebreakers are quick and fun activities that can be run to warm up the team and promote group interaction. It is a good meeting starter for any team meeting. It is extra valuable for early stages of team building, which it typically the case for the lean inception workshop.

Never underestimate the power of having fun. By having fun and laughing, your stress levels decrease significantly and you are much more open to working with other people. When you’re happy and relaxed, you’re much more open to trying new things and thereby increasing your participation on this highly interactive workshop: the lean inception.

Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face interaction. Innovative technologies, such as videoconferencing and online shared documents facilitate remote work between people. However, face-to-face interaction during inception allows the hard work in activities, guaranteeing that everybody will be present and actively participating.

Maintain the same room allocated to the team during the intense period of inception. This is commonly called: the war room. The room must accommodate the team comfortably. There must be a table and a clear wall. The room also must hold flipcharts, index cards and colored post-its, paper and pen for everyone.

Make notes on colored post-its or index cards. Write and put them on the table or on the wall. Gather people around them. Talk about them. Write a little more. Group them. Separate them. Tear them down and write again. Use colors. Reorganize them. The collaboration born from such simple display cannot be reached by any digital mean.

Paulo Caroli

Principal consultant at ThoughtWorks Brazil and co-founder of AgileBrazil, Paulo Caroli has over twenty years of experience in software development, passing in various corporations in Brazil, India, USA and Latin America. In 2000, he met Extreme Programming and since then has focused his expertise in processes and practices of Agile & Lean. Paulo is author of: “To the point; a recipe for creating lean products”; and “Fun Retrospectives: activities and ideas for making agile retrospectives more engaging, as well as several e-books, articles and presentations. Read more at www.caroli.org

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A Quick Peak Into The First Few Chapters

Time-to-market is the greatest concern an entrepreneur must have in creating an MVP. A startup, for example, should worry about having a product on the market in a few weeks. Last decade, we used to talk a lot about creating the right products for the market in the best possible way. But that takes time, and if the business idea isn´t good, spending months planning a bad product will have been a big waste. So I believe that, rather than creating the product in the best possible way, you have to be sure that it is the right product. Here are some chapters on a step-by-step guide on how to create a Minimum Viable Product.
  • Chapter 1

    Minimum Viable Product

    Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the simpler version of a product that can be available to validate a small set of assumptions on the business. Basically, you don’t want to waste time, money and effort building a product that won’t attend your expectations. For that reason, you need to understand and validate the hypothesis about the business. MVP helps to validate and learn the fastest way.

    Different from products created using the traditional way, usually taking too much time and effort on prototyping, analysis and elaboration, the goal of MVP is only to validate the first step, the minimum product, far less elaborated than the final version. MVP focuses on the minimum but viable product to verify if the direction is correct. The initial set of functionality needed for hypothesis validation and for learning more about the business.

  • Chapter 2

    Lean Inception

    Agile projects place emphasis on early and continuous delivery of valuable software, according to the business objectives and the needs of the primary users. Lean product creation promotes incremental release of the product--MVP, the minimum viable product, or the simpler version of a product that can be made available to the business.

    But how to understand the MVP and start an agile project as quickly as possible? How to ensure the team starts the product creation with a shared understanding and an effective plan?

  • Chapter 3

    Product

    With a good understanding of the product vision, you can set which and how the first pieces of your business puzzle are going to gather up. You must decide on over which product feature the initial path is going to be traced, and which is going to be your strategy.

    Somewhere between the idea and the launching, the vision of the product helps to trace the initial path. It defines the essence of your business value and must reflect a clear and convincing message to its clients. This activity will help you to define collaboratively the vision of the product.

  • Chapter 7

    Features and MVP

    “Is this feature important?”

    I’ve always had the same answer when asking such question. That is why I don’t ask it anymore. The most relevant question that is going to help you to plan the order of the features to be created is:

    “Which one of these two is the priority?”

    Thus, the features are prioritized according to one another. This question is very useful and must be used, but from another starting point.

mvp-grama-site4

Chapter 1

Minimum Viable Product

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the simpler version of a product that can be available to validate a small set of assumptions on the business. Basically, you don’t want to waste time, money and effort building a product that won’t attend your expectations. For that reason, you need to understand and validate the hypothesis about the business. MVP helps to validate and learn the fastest way.

Different from products created using the traditional way, usually taking too much time and effort on prototyping, analysis and elaboration, the goal of MVP is only to validate the first step, the minimum product, far less elaborated than the final version. MVP focuses on the minimum but viable product to verify if the direction is correct. The initial set of functionality needed for hypothesis validation and for learning more about the business.

inception-site5

Chapter 2

Lean Inception

Agile projects place emphasis on early and continuous delivery of valuable software, according to the business objectives and the needs of the primary users. Lean product creation promotes incremental release of the product--MVP, the minimum viable product, or the simpler version of a product that can be made available to the business.

But how to understand the MVP and start an agile project as quickly as possible? How to ensure the team starts the product creation with a shared understanding and an effective plan?

product-site1

Chapter 3

Product

With a good understanding of the product vision, you can set which and how the first pieces of your business puzzle are going to gather up. You must decide on over which product feature the initial path is going to be traced, and which is going to be your strategy.

Somewhere between the idea and the launching, the vision of the product helps to trace the initial path. It defines the essence of your business value and must reflect a clear and convincing message to its clients. This activity will help you to define collaboratively the vision of the product.

seq-site1

Chapter 7

Features and MVP

“Is this feature important?”

I’ve always had the same answer when asking such question. That is why I don’t ask it anymore. The most relevant question that is going to help you to plan the order of the features to be created is:

“Which one of these two is the priority?”

Thus, the features are prioritized according to one another. This question is very useful and must be used, but from another starting point.